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Aspirnaut Announces Successful Completion of Summer Research Experience


The Aspirnaut™ Program is proud to announce that Summer Farris, Tyrone Gamble, Jr., Arnez Orr, and Mack Williams, Jr. from  KIPP Delta Collegiate High School participated in the 2014 High School Summer Research Internship Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from June 1 – July 12, 2014. Students were chosen based on a strong interest in and aptitude for science and math, high academic achievement, and teacher recommendations.

The program provided high school students the opportunity to work in biomedical research laboratories while living on Vanderbilt’s campus.  Summer worked with Dr. Billy Hudson on a project entitled “ID of Sulfilimine Cross links in Basement Membrane during Cardinal Stages of Mouse Development.” Tyrone worked with Dr. Roy Zent on a project entitled “The Significance of PINCH-2 Proteins During Kidney Development.” Arnez worked with Dr. Billy Hudson on a project entitled “Differential Expression of the Goodpasture Antigen Protein Gene in the Early Pregnant Mouse Uterus.” Mack worked with Dr. Isi Ero-Tolliver on a project entitled “Elucidating Significant Domains of Nematostella Vectensis Peroxidasin Necessary for Sulfilimine Bond Formation.” They presented their work to Vanderbilt research faculty and staff on Friday, July 11, 2014. Interns also participated in luncheons with distinguished professors, ACT prep, individual career planning, lab meetings, and social activities.

Reflecting on his experience, Gamble, Jr. stated, “The AspirnautTM program was an eye-opening experience. When I first came to the program, I had my mind set on pursuing anesthesiology, but as the program progressed, I developed a new interest in diabetes. I also walked away with a better understanding of the cognitive skills, discipline, and social tolerance needed to pursue a career in medicine. Since leaving the program, I am seriously thinking about pursuing a career in endocrinology. The professional and personal contacts I made while at the program are invaluable."

Executive director of the program, Julie Hudson, M.D., stated: “The summer program is transformative for high school students who aspire to pursue a career in biomedical sciences. They join a world-class scientific team and conduct their own research project. High school students rise to the challenge each summer, greatly increasing their fund of knowledge, and learning how amazing it is to discover something that no one else has ever seen or known.”

The summer program is held on Vanderbilt University’s beautiful and historic campus, near downtown Nashville, Tennessee.  The participants resided in campus housing during their internship, and interns received salary, room, and board for their work.

About Aspirnaut™ - The Aspirnaut™ Program is a K-20 STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) pipeline for diversity and partnership between Vanderbilt University Medical Center rural K-12 schools and diverse undergraduate and graduate students.  The goal is to increase STEM achievement and the numbers and diversity of students entering the STEM workforce. Billy Hudson, Ph.D., a professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University, along with his wife, Julie Hudson, M.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, direct the program.

PDF icon Aspirnaut Summer Research Internship.pdf

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Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs